How to Empty a Propane Tank

What is propane

If you are a seasoned RV user, you are probably familiar with the use of propane. But for all you new RV owners, propane is a form of liquid petroleum that is used for multiple purposes on the RV. It can be used for central heating on the RV, for cooking your meals, boiling water and to power a refrigerator on board the RV.

Propane is the ideal choice for many RV users, as it is more affordable compared to gas, and is readily available no matter where you decide to take your RV to. It is easy to pick it up at gas stations and homeware stores on your way to your next adventure. With all that it can do, it is definitely something many RV owners will call a staple that they must have on their RV.


When do you use propane on your RV

So, how exactly do you use propane in your RV? Generally, there are two ways you can do so- you can convert a generator to use propane or you can choose to use a RV hook up specifically for propane. Most newer models on the market today will come with a propane hook up that you can make use of. If you own one of the older models, this feature might not be present, so you will have to use the generator method in order to use propane as a fuel on your RV.

Once propane canisters are used up and are almost empty, they can easily be swapped out for new ones. A word of caution when using propane on your RV is not to use it whenever the RV is moving. Do not use your propane tanks when driving the RV, and make sure that they are securely attached to the outside of your RV. Stay safe, and enjoy the convenience of propane for your RV adventures.


Problems with using propane- When will you need to empty a propane tank

Propane is great as a fuel source, but always remember that it is highly flammable. Use it with care, as you definitely do not want to put yourself in danger. Seeing your much loved RV go up in flames is not exactly a sight that will bring a smile to your face. After your propane tanks are used to their maximum capacity such that the fuel levels in the tank are too low to practically be used, it will be a safer option to empty your propane tanks completely and not allow the remaining propane to sit in them.

This will make it significantly safer to transport the propane tanks around in your journeys before you have an opportunity to dispose of them properly or to refill them for future use. Emptying your propane tank is a simple job that you can do yourself without professional help, and can usually be done in just a couple of minutes. Take this little bit of time in the day to do so, and keep yourself and everyone travelling with you on the RV safe!


How do you determine the fuel levels in your propane tank

Before you decide to discard and empty your propane tank, you will want to check the level of propane in it. Most propane tanks do not come with a gauge when purchased to let you know how much fuel is still in it, so how do you tell that the tank is ready to be emptied and discarded? It will be a great waste if the tank is discarded before most of the propane in it has been used up. Fortunately, we have a few methods for you to check the levels of propane in your tank, so read on if you want to know more.

  1. Using water

A convenient and cost effective way to get an approximation of the fuel levels in your propane tank is simply to use a bit of hot water. To do so, grab a small bucket and fill it with hot water. Pour the hot water down the side of the tank, taking care to not scald yourself with the water. Then, run your hand down the side of the tank until you feel a cooler spot.

The very top of the cool sport is the fuel level in the tank. This method is backed by scientific explanation, as the liquid propane in the tank absorbs the heat from the water, making the metal surface of the tank that is in contact with the liquid propane cool to the touch compared to the rest of the tank surface. While this method is not the most accurate, it will give you an approximation of how much fuel is left in the tank, helping you to make your decision if you should proceed to empty it.

  1. Using the weight of the tank

If you are a frequent user of propane tanks, you can probably get a pretty good approximation of when the propane tank is ready to be emptied by gauging the fuel levels in it from its weight. To be more precise, get out your weighing scales to track the changes in the weight of the tank to see how much fuel is left in the tank.

  1. Using a gauge

This is the method to go for if you want a more accurate measure of the levels of propane fuel left in your tank! There are several different kinds of propane tank gauges that you can do more research on before investing in one. Inline pressure gauges work using pressure and can give a readout allowing you to know if the tank is full, low or empty.

Analog propane scales work using weight. They are tarred for the weight of the tank, so you can simply hook the tank to the scales to read the gas levels. Digital propane tank scales work by measuring the weight of the tank constantly and providing a digital readout of the percentage of gas that is remaining in the tank. Some of these can even be connected to your smartphones, and will be great for those really into technology! Pop by a store to take a look at the variety of gauges to find one that best suits your needs.


Steps to take to empty your propane tank

  1. Your propane tank is probably connected to some appliance that you were using. Disconnect it from any hoses or attachments. You will not want to empty your tank in your RV, so bring the tank out of the RV to an empty space outdoors. The environment and its beauty should be protected, so make sure that you are not near anything that the propane may potentially damage upon contact. Ideally, you should empty the tank at an area at least 10 feet away from any trees, plants or buildings. Protect nature and the outdoors so that other campers can also explore and admire its wonders!
  2. You do not want to end up with a trip to the doctors just from trying to empty your propane tank, so make sure that you are well protected before starting the job. Find your thickest, sturdiest leather gloves and put them on. This will protect your hands if they come into contact with the propane when you are emptying the tank.
  3. Finally, it is time to start the hard work! Position the tank in a way such that the valve points to the side.
  4. Now, open the valve until the knob can no longer be turned anymore. When doing this, make sure that you are not standing directly in the direction of the valve. Take a step back and wait until you can no longer see and hear the propane escaping from the tank.
  5. Once the propane has been completely emptied out of the tank, close the valve by turning the knob in the opposite direction until it can no longer be turned anymore, ensuring a tight seal.

Now that you know how to empty your propane tanks, you are a step closer to being a safe RV user! It is something simple that everyone can do to reduce the risk of your RV catching on fire. Propane always comes in handy on your trips in the RV, so use it responsibly so that you can get the most out of its use. We wish you many more delicious, warm meals when you are out adventuring in your RV!